Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taiwan 2014 Day 1 - Hsinchu & Taipei

11 July, Friday

It's been slightly more than a year since my last solo trip to Taiwan in June 2013. :)

This gonna made history as my shortest (4D3N) trip to Taiwan. I had a mission to deliver some stuff to my cousin who's currently studying in Taipei, staying at Hsinchu. I have never been to Hsinchu even though I've traveled to Taiwan for 3 times before this trip. Thus, I agreed to travel down to Hsinchu to pass the things to my cousin and spend some time in Hsinchu.

I got myself a SIM data card from Chunghwa Telecom at NT 300 (SGD 12.70), including 3 days worth of unlimited 3G and NT 100 credit for phone calls. You can get it at Terminal 1 after exiting immigration, turn left, walk straight and turn left again after seeing Subway, you'll see Chunghua Telecom store next to a money changer.

Ubus 705 from Taoyuan Airport to Taoyuan Highspeed Rail Station - NT 30 (SGD 1.30)

Highspeed Rail from Taoyuan to Hsinchu - NT 135 (SGD 5.80)

Arrived at Hsinchu HSR Station

Hsinchu HSR Carpark

Hsinchu Highspeed Rail Station
My cousin and his god mum, whom is a Taiwanese, fetched us from Hsinchu HSR Station and brought us to a famous hotpot restaurant - 鼎王麻辣鍋.

鼎王麻辣鍋 (Ding Wang Ma La Guo) Tripod King
Outlet: 竹北光明店 (Zhu Bei Guang Ming Dian)
Address: 新竹縣竹北市光明一路93號 (No. 93, Guangming 1st Rd, Zhubei City Hsinchu County, Taiwan 302)
Contact: 03-657-1879 (+886 3-657-1879)
Operating Hours: 11.00 am - 03.00 am (Daily)
Website: http://www.tripodking.com.tw/
Online Reservation: http://www.eztable.com

Ding Wang's service was really SUPERB. The waitress actually did a 90 degree bow every time she served us!!! My cousin and I were not used to such respectable service at all. We got a little awkward whenever she bowed to us. Our soup level will never go too low as they will constantly come by our table and top it up, as well as adjusting the strength of the fire. Impeccable service indeed. Ding Wang has several many other outlets across Taiwan, do check out their website if you are interested.

We ordered a hotpot with twin flavours, 麻辣锅 (spicy) & 酸菜白肉锅 (sour veg, white meat). The spicy level was initially 'small' and I requested to increase to 'medium' as it wasn't spicy enough. I would advise you to start from medium and increase the level if you can take it. The basic stuffs such as vegetables, corns and duck's blood are refillable without any extra cost. I'm not too sure how much was the total bill as it was footed by my cousin, indirectly by my aunt, who wanted them to bring me to this hotpot restaurant. But I'm sure it was not cheap. Thank you for the yummy treat! :)







Free flow rice, sauces at the side



Very nice apple tea!

Duck's blood (yumms) - reminds me of pig's blood which was banned in Singapore

The meal took about 1h 40min and we couldn't finish all the food we ordered as we were too full. We were sent back to Hsinchu HSR Station and bought our train tickets (NT 305 = SGD 13) to Taipei. It was really a short stop in Hsinchu, the feel in Hsinchu was actually not much different as compared to Taipei.

Hsinchu HSR Station


Bye Hsinchu!

Hotel Puri (Ximen) 璞麗商旅 (西门店)
Address: No.6, Ln. 27, Chengdu Rd, Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan 108 (108台北市成都路27巷6號)
Website: http://www.hotel-puri.com.tw/
Agoda Site: http://www.agoda.com/en-sg/hotel-puri-ximen/hotel/taipei-tw.html
Contact: 02 2371-8616 (+886 2 2371-8616)
Email: resv@hotel-puri.com.tw
Earliest Check-In: 3.00pm
Check-Out: 12.00pm

Hotel Puri is conveniently situated in Ximending area. A short 2-3 min walk from Exit 6 of Ximen MRT Station. Upon exiting Exit 6 (via escalator), walk straight (along Chengdu Road) and turn into the first small alley on the right.




Hotel Puri Lobby
Checking-in was fast and the lady at the counter informed us that if we book a taxi to airport before our departure date, it would be NT 900, about SGD 38.20, (10% off from NT 1000). As we were not sure if we need a taxi on our last day so we didn't take it. WIFI is not password protected and it's available throughout the whole hotel.

Entering our corner room on 2nd Floor




Toilet is very small after closing the glass door

Shower is separated from the toilet
Hotel Puri's room was clean and tidy. Basic toiletries such as toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/soap, shaver, cotton bud, shower cap and comb were provided. The space was ample enough to allow pathways after we opened our luggage. The bed was not too soft nor hard, comfortable enough to have a good sleep. WIFI's strong as well. Very good hotel given it's price, it was supposed to be SGD 332 for 3 nights, as I always book hotels via agoda.com, I got enough points to waive off some amount and thus each night cost less than SGD 100 for the room.

Our plan was to go to Rao He Night Market (Houshanpi MRT) but it was already near 9pm after we settled down in the hotel. So we called it off and decided to walk around Ximending.


西門町

阿宗麵線 
Address: No. 8之1號, Emei St (蛾眉街), Taiwan 108
Phone: 02 2388 8808 (+886 2 2388 8808)

The famous Ah Zong Mian Xian at Emei Street, Ximending. 4th time here and the crowd's never get lesser. I wouldn't say that it's very very good but it's yummy enough for me to keep coming back whenever I'm in Taipei. There're no seats for customers, except some stools for those in need. Hence, you can imagine the high turnover rate! $$$


Large bowl of Ah Zong Mian Xian


冲绳日式碳烤麻糬, Okinawa Japanese Grilled Mochi
Address: No. 49, Emei Street, Wanhua District (萬華區峨嵋街49號)

The queue never stop for this stall along Emei Street. I tried this with my Mum on my 2nd trip to Taiwan in Feb 2013. We tried 炼奶 (condensed milk) and 花生 (peanut) flavours and they were both good. BF and I chose Black Sesame and Matcha. The black sesame was very nice! Matcha taste was a tad too bland though.
冲绳日式碳烤麻糬, Okinawa Japanese Grilled Mochi
NT 30 (SGD 1.30) each


Black Sesame and Matcha Grilled Mochi

西門町三兄妹雪花冰專門店 
Ximending San Xiong Mei Shaved Ice Shop
Address: 108, Taiwan, 台北市萬華區漢中街23號 (Hanzhong Street No. 23, Wanhua District)
Contact: 02-2381-2650 (+886 2 2381 2650)
Operating Hours: 11.00 am - 11.00 pm

Another well-known shop for their shaved ice. Right now it's the mango-season; Taiwan is famous for their delicious and juicy mangoes during such season!! We ordered a bowl of Mango Snow Ice with Mango Ice Cream at NT 120 (SGD 5.10). The ice was extremely smooth! The mangoes, needless to say, it's damn awesome.


A group of Korean Tourists sitting opposite us

Menu on the wall; feel free to draw anything on the wall if you want!


芒果雪花冰+冰淇淋 (Mango Snow Ice + Ice Cream, Item No.3 on Menu)



=D
Hong Kong IDC Store
Address: 108, Taiwan 台北市萬華區武昌街二段85-3號 (Wanhua District, Wu Chang Street, Sec., No. 85-3)

Hoho! Look what I found, Hong Kong IDC Store shifted their store to the happening Ximending! It was originally at Zhongxiao Dunhua Station, where I bought my first hater on my last Solo Trip to Taiwan last year. IDC Store is known for selling Hater Snapbacks. The store in Ximending is in sandwiched between Stayreal and Choir Cafe along Wu Chang Street, Sec. (武昌街二段).

Drinking my favorite corn soup from Mcdonald's (NT 28, SGD 1.20)
Staying at Ximending has it's perks - endless shopping, food, entertainment heaven. Day 1 was full of traveling, from Singapore Changi Airport to Taoyuan International Airport, then to Hsinchu, HSR to Taipei Main Station and finally MRT to Ximen. A pity that we did not have enough time to go to Rao He Night Market. We'll be going to Yong Kang Street, Tamsui and Shilin Night Market on Day 2. =)

113 comments:

  1. Hi Lynne,

    Came across your blog as I am planning for a trip to Taiwan. May I know if you booked your HSR tickets in advance? I know that there is discount for booking earlier but I am unsure of how much time to allow between landing and HSR departure. I don't want to wait too long as I want to reach my hotel asap to catch sunset! But I dont want my ticket to be forfeited as well. Any advice? Is 2 hours enough to buffer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, I didn't book the HSR tickets in advance as I don't want to rush or be too early for my train to save the 10-30% as Taoyuan-Hsinchu or Taoyuan-Taipei isn't that expensive. However, I did purchase advance tickets when I went to Kaohsiung (Taoyuan-Zuoying) in 2011 as it's more expensive for longer journey. I would suggest at least 1h-1.5h to buffer. 2h is definitely long enough. As long as you arrive before your scheduled train, I think you can go to the service counter to ask if you can take the earlier train.

      Delete
  2. Hi, can i have yr iternary please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel, I can forward it this trip's itinerary to your email. May I have your email?

      Delete
  3. Hi lynne, thanks for the wonderful post. Was wondering if you could send me your itinerary if you dont mind. Thank you so much in advance and god bless you :D peiminq--@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I've sent you the itinerary! No worries! :)

      Delete
  4. hi lynne,Can i have your itinerary please? Thank you very much oh. : )

    nicholashockguan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hock Guan, I have sent the itinerary to the email you mentioned. You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  5. Hi lynne can I have your itinerary too?

    jasminex3youu@gmail.com

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Lynne!

    Can send me ur intinery cos im thinking of goinf solo to Taiwam but i dunno whr to start esp when it comes to public transport! Will be good if u can send me ur recommendations for the past places u been(: can send me at alvinorlogy@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alvin,

      I've sent you the itinerary requested. Cheers.

      Delete
  7. Hi Lynne, can I have a copy of your itinerary ? My email is ongbeekiat@gmail.com. Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beekiat, I've sent my itinerary to your email. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  8. hi lynne,
    would love to have a copy of your itinerary to browse through as well if possible!
    jpb5899@gmail.com
    thanks a lot in advance! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. hi lynne, read thru ur tw trip. Would love to have a copy of ur itinerary.
    Email:ang_chingkai@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, itinerary sent to your email. :)

      Delete
  10. hi there , can I have a copy of your itinerary as well . email : chivaslife88@gmail.com . thanks !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I've sent it to your email. You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  11. Hi Lynne, can I have a copy of your itinerary too ??

    my email : Hongbaoen@gmail.com

    thanks !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kendi, I've sent you the itinerary.
      Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  12. Hi i know this may get irritating but rly sorry, can I have a copy of your itinerary as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi ZhiKai, no worries. You can leave your email here and I'll send you after.

      Delete
  13. Hi Lynne can I get a copy of your ordinary too? Thanks!
    melvin93_liverpool@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melvin, I've sent my itinerary to your email stated above. You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  14. Hi Lynne can I have a copy of your itinerary? Thanks!

    kersin0214@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello Lynne~
    May I have a copy as well? Thank you! :)
    Mailto: imcyhh@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Lynne can I have a copy of your itinerary also? Thanks!

    xue_er0709@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Xue Er, you can check your email for the itinerary. You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  17. Hi Lynne can I get a copy of your ordinary too? Thanks!
    melvin93_liverpool@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Lynne, I came across your blog while I'm planning for my taipei trip during April. Can I have a copy of your itinerary too? Thanks alot!

    nkyje95@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I've sent my itinerary to your email. Cheers! :)

      Delete
  19. hello lynne! may i have ur itinerary too? haha.

    my email is yoyumi92@gmail.com thanks!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yun Ming, itinerary is sent to your email. You are welcome. =)

      Delete
  20. Lynne if you don't mind, can i have your itinerary too? estxhs8@icloud.com!! Thank you so so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Esther, sure! I've sent it to the email listed above. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  21. Hi appreciate if you can share ur itinerary with me via rachel_0288@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance. Making my 1st trip to Taiwan next Saturday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel, I have sent it to your email. Enjoy your trip!
      Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  22. Hi. Can I have your itinerary too? Thanks in advance!
    koh_yuan_zhen@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yuanzhen, I have sent my itinerary to your email. You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  23. Hi, can I have a copy of your itinerary too? Thank you :)
    carinchua123@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zong Lin, I've sent the itinerary to the email above. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  24. Amazing trip! Could you send me a copy of your exciting itinerary? Very much appreciated!
    mrwjoh@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Itinerary was sent to your email. :)

      Delete
  25. Hi Lynne can I have a copy of your itinerary too?
    Thanks!
    k_eileen2003@yahoo.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, I've sent you the itinerary! :)

      Delete
  26. Hi Lynne, may i also have your itinerary as this is my first trip to Taiwan on this coming June

    ray_ong1992@hotmail.com

    Big Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I've sent it to your email! Hope that you will have a great trip ahead.

      Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  27. Hi lynne how much the hater snapback range? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Hater Snapback price starts from TWD 1000. It can go beyond TWD 2000, depending on the design. =)

      Delete
  28. Hi Lynne can I have a copy of your itinerary too?
    Thanks!
    mickeytan1998@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I've sent my itinerary to you. :)

      Delete
  29. hi there , can I have a copy of your itinerary as well . email : khaishan@live.com . thanks !

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Lynne, please send me a copy of your itinerary to mkctech@gmail.com

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi, can i have a copy of your itinerary?
    My email add is jllt1986@yahoo.com.sg
    Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, itinerary sent! You are welcome. :)

      Delete
  32. hello lynne! may i have ur itinerary too? haha.

    my email is adelecsw@gmail.com thanks!! :)

    btw, your trip mainly cover Taipei or other territory ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, I've sent you my itinerary. In this trip I only went to Hsinchu for half a day and the rest of the days in Taipei. I've been to Kaohsiung, Hualien, Kenting and Taichung in my other trips as well. You can read my solo trip to Taiwan blog posts which cover Taichung & Taipei, if you are interested. =)

      Delete
  33. Hi, Lynne,

    Can I have a copy of your itinerary, to Jennifer@pyrogard.com.sg.
    Also, which hotel you stay during the trip.
    Thanks - Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I have sent you a copy of my itinerary. I stayed at Hotel Puri at Ximending in Taipei, as mentioned in this blog post above. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  34. Hi Lynne, I'll be traveling to Taiwan this coming July and it'll be the first time for me there with a group of friends. Would like to request a copy of your itinerary for reference. My email is loicryyy@gmail.com. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lois, I forward my itinerary to the email address you listed but it failed. "Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain gmail.com by gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com."

      Delete
  35. Hi Lynne,

    Can I have a copy of your Taipei itinerary too?
    My email: liching@singnet.com.sg
    Thank u!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi, where did you buy that customized passport holder? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I got them at http://www.theheartstuff.com/

      Delete
  37. hi lynne! may i have ur itinerary too? haha

    my email is zhangxinyue1228@gmail.com thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Xinyue, I've sent you my itinerary. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  38. Hi lynne! May i have your itinerary too? Haha. Thank you and have a nice day! ^^

    My email is gracioustao@gmail.com

    Once again, thank you so much :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I just sent you my itinerary to your email listed above. You are very welcome! ;)

      Delete
  39. Hi Lynne, me and my husband going to Taipei next year. It's our first trip to Taiwan! May I have your itinerary?
    hooizhitoh2109@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Lynne...Can I have a copy of your Taipei itinerary too?
    Email add: cinnamon_ys@hotmail.com

    Thank u soo much :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Lynne, I'm planning a trip to Taiwan at the end of year. Could I also have a copy of your itinerary?
    Email: yabbie99@gmail.com

    Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi lynne, just chanced upon your blog and would like to know if I can have a copy of your itinerary too?? :3 I am flying tomorrow and only started planning now xD
    Thx for the trouble in adv! ^^
    Email: miiaoyunzi@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Lynne

    Came across your blog and would like to request for a copy of the itinerary.. Can send me a copy? Thanks in advance..

    My email xlcandyxl@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Lynne, I'm planning a trip to Taiwan at the end of month. Can I have a copy of your itinerary?
    This is my email: vivitee1229@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi Lynne, can i have a copy of your itinerary. It will help me a lot. Thank You!

    jingguang1995@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Lynne, can I have a copy of your itinerary too? Sorry for the trouble!

    cheng_shu_ting@hotmail.com

    Thanks alot!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Lynne, Can I have a copy of your itinerary? I'm planning a trip to Taiwan on November. It will help me a lot.
    This is my email: faniezzz23@gmail.com
    Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Itinerary sent, enjoy your trip. It'll be getting cold in November! =)

      Delete
  48. Hi Lynee,

    Super like your taiwan blog as I find it very informative. Can send me a copy of the itinerary as I will be going for a free and easy Taiwan trip in Nov. My email address is karen-maersk@hotmail.com. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, itinerary sent! Enjoy your trip!

      Delete
  49. Hi Lynne,

    Saw your blog while researching on my tw trip. Appreciate if you can send me a copy of your itinerary for my reference. My email is icedteh@mail.com.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi lyn, i want to stay in Taipei for a week, can i know how you find good hotel for staying with available price? do you do a research online before? or do you book online?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I usually book through agoda.com.sg/citibanksg where Citibank card members get 5-7% discount depending on your credit card. They have other landing page for partnerships with different banks. I will sort by ratings and read the reviews before booking a hotel.

      Delete
  51. Greetings Ms. Lynne Chua from Malaysia! I will be travelling a Solo to Taiwan in month of May 2016. My plans to stay at Taichung for 3D2N (First Destination from Taoyuan International Airport) and be taking a Express Bus to Taichung. Do you have your itineraries for Taichung? And then, will travel to stay at Taipei City for 3D2N with most probably by HSR to Taipei Main Station before return back to Malaysia. Again to ask of you, do you have the itineraries for Taipei? Finally, is it safe to travel around Taiwan as a Solo Traveller?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Irene! Yes I do have itinerary for my entire solo trip, could you leave your email here so that I can send it to you? It is definitely safe to travel in Taiwan!

      Delete
  52. hi lynne , I'm planning a trip to Taiwan at the end of month. Can I have a copy of your itinerary? my email is luisvoowork@hotmail.com
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi Lynne , great review! The grilled mochi looks interesting- nice?
    I'm planning to visit Taiwan end of the year.
    Ya... a bit kaisu planning so early ...haha... but I'm bringing my WHOLE family, so I figure better be more prepared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sage, thank you for your compliment. Yes, the grilled mochi was delicious! There's no harm starting your plan early as you will be more prepared. I hope that my blog posts will help you in your planning. Let me know if you require my itinerary by leaving your email address. Cheers, Lynne.

      Delete
  54. Hi Lynne,

    can i have a copy of your itinerary too?

    kuan_89@hotmail.com

    thanks in advance =)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi, can I have your itinerary please? :) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rynise, sorry for the late reply. Can you leave your email here so that I can send my itinerary to you?

      Delete
  56. Hi Lynne, chance upon your blog when i'm planning my first trip to Taiwan. Amazing guide and great reviews! Since it's my first time travelling there, I would gladly appreciate if you could share your itinerary with me, any tips will be a great help too!
    Email: ti_8792@hotmail.com

    Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Itinerary sent! Hmm I think I tried to mention everything on my blog. Basically, get a data card (for Google maps/social media), transport card and be ready for food!

      Delete
  57. Hi Lynne,

    can i have a copy of your itinerary too?

    tiuwanqin@hotmail.com

    thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hello Lynne!

    Can I have your itinerary as well? I'm planning to go Taiwan this coming July.

    My email is sewphin_lee@hotmail.com

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete